I guess it’s appropriate that this spread never made it into the book because it’s about a painful decision I made to not do something.
My friend Steve had moved to Tuscany several years ago and renovated an old farmhouse. We’d been very excited for him and kept abreast of all the changes he was making in this life. He took great pains to make sure that his farmhouse was wheelchair accessible so that Patti could come and visit him. He put in a special bathroom and was very excited about the day when we would arrive. That day never came.
At Patti’s memorial service, Steve encouraged Jack and me to come and visit him as soon as possible. And we planned the trip for three we should never have put off. My niece Morgan was to take Patti’s place and I bought tickets and served a rental car and we were all ready to go. But at the last minute, I just couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t bear the idea of leaving my home — it just seemed too scary and disruptive. I was sure that Patti’s absence would hang so heavily over me if we made this long anticipated trip. I felt like I was stepping off a cliff; it made me think of all the things that we could’ve and should’ve done together but now never would. I imagine waking up in a strange bed in a distant country in the middle of the night and feeling utterly and hopelessly alone. I just couldn’t stand it. Fortunately, Steve was understanding when I told him of our last minute change in plans.
This is still a painful and confusing memory. I don’t know that I can fully explain it even now. Maybe that’s why it didn’t end up in the book.